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Here, in this chapter, we're going to focus in on the Adjustments panel, and we'll target some of the more important adjustments that we can use in order to improve and enhance our photographs. Let's start off with this image here. Zoom in on this one by pressing Command+Plus on a Mac, or Ctrl+Plus Windows, then press the Spacebar key to click and drag this to reposition it. Now before we get to the Adjustments panel, I do have to point out that a lot of times people go to this area here, Image > Adjustments, and then they choose an option.
Now I don't recommend that, because if you do that, it will then make the adjustment onto the pixels itself so that you can't undo it, you can't modify it after the fact. So in order to have more flexibility, what you want to do is navigate to your Adjustments panel. And let's start off by making a brightness and contrast adjustment and then take a look at how we can tweak it or customize it so that our image looks its best. Let's click on this icon here, little sunshine icon. What I want to do is click on the Auto button.
The Auto button, which you'll find here in levels and curves, it does a good job at trying to analyze the image and figuring out how to modify these controls so that our photograph looks better. Now here with this picture, at first glance, I like it. We can click on the Eye icon. Here is before and then after. And let's say we send this image to our printer, and then we realize, you know what? We had too much contrast, not enough brightness. Well, the good news is that you can always customize these amounts, these sliders, even after the fact.
These will always be saved inside of your document here. So what you can do is modify the brightness and also perhaps change the contrast and get this to just the right spot for your picture. Let's now take a look at that before and after. Here's before, and now here's after. It's much more subtle. Another way that we can customize things is we can also close this Properties panel for a moment by clicking on the double arrow icon there. We can go to the Layers panel, and we can change the opacity of this effect.
If we want an effect which isn't quite so strong, well, we can decrease the opacity or diminish this effect, and so here you can see we can customize this many different ways. If the Properties panel is ever closed, well, just double-click the icon for the adjustment layer, and it will reopen it with those controls so that you can then further make any needed changes in order to make this image look its best. And again, what's really fun about this is that you can customize things, you can walk away and then come back, because when it comes to making adjustments, sometimes the first time we see them, we'll think, "Oh yeah, that's great." But then, after a while our taste might change or perhaps the output for the photograph might change.
Well, by having this layer, we can always make the changes after the fact, and this extra bit of flexibility can help us to be more creative and also can help us to create even more compelling photographs.
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